The Sea Collector

The Sea Collector has been created over a period of several years and this first showing marks the completion of the first chapter in this ongoing project in which photographer Adam Stenhouse is attempting to visit each sea described by contemporary maps and literature. 

Influenced by Thomas Joshua Cooper’s ongoing attempts to circumnavigate the Atlantic Ocean, Stenhouse is engaging with the romanticised histories of explorers, their failures and successes, the ongoing allure we as a species have with the sea, and the limits of the physical world we inhabit.

Taking Susan Sontag’s claim that ‘to collect photographs is to collect the world’ very literally, Stenhouse is deliberately embarking upon an extensive journey to bear witness to these different seas, recording their individuality, aesthetic vision and geographical personality as well as his own experience of being present beside each sea, and through this laying a claim of ownership over and knowledge of this world. Yet within this idea there is an undermining of how humans have procured and understood the world they live in; most ‘seas’ are essentially one single body of water, the imaginary borders given them and the names attached are a purely human infliction created through our explorations. This leaves unanswered the question, what is he actually collecting?

Adam Stenhouse is a photographer and artist based in Vancouver. He completed his BA Hons (Design) in Visual Communication from the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland (2006) and recently completed his Master of Applied Arts degree in Visual Art at Emily Carr University.


1 - Pacific Ocean // Long Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada, 2010 

2 - Tasman Sea // Karekare, New Zealand, 2011